NIST's cloud computing public working groups bring together industry, government and academic experts from across the world to address requirements laid out in the NIST U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Release 1.0 (Draft).* The combined efforts of several public working groups drew up the roadmap and others are working on security, standards and accessibility.
Two of the key challenges for cloud computing flagged in the roadmap are interoperability-- software and components working together--and portability--allowing data owners to easily move data from one cloud to another or change cloud vendor. The Interoperability and Portability for Cloud Computing working group will identify the issues and types of interoperability and portability needed for cloud computing systems and the relationships and interactions between interoperability and portability.
The Cloud Services group will address the roadmap's Requirement 4--clearly and consistently categorized cloud services. Cloud customers do not generally own the cloud hardware; instead they obtain services from a cloud provider. The cloud computing definition promulgated by NIST** categorizes cloud services as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Recently, dozens of new types of cloud services and acronyms for them have popped up in the marketplace. The new public working group will use the NIST Cloud Computing Reference Architecture*** to provide consistent categories of cloud services so buyers know what they are committing to before signing potentially costly, long-term contracts.
In the future, organizations may use federated clouds: systems that access internal and external cloud resources from multiple providers to meet their business needs. The third public working group will tackle the roadmap's Requirement 5--Frameworks to support seamless implementation of federated community cloud environments. This group will define the term "federated cloud" and develop a path to its implementation.
For more information on participating in the new public working groups, including call-in numbers, go to http://www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/announcement-of-three-new-wg.cfm. For more on the NIST Cloud Computing Program see www.nist.gov/itl/cloud.
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